Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is a bargain game for all those who like a challenge, though not so difficult that you need to search the Internet for walk-through information. Unlike many games of this genre, the game evolves and as you play through the different levels, so does your understanding of the game.

We are introduced to the different characters of the Harry Potter series, and of course there are the names which are familiar to all readers. Voices appear to be original and character representation is very good. The introduction to the game takes Harry into classrooms where he has to learn different skills. As each skill is taught, he enters a level in which to practice those skills. It’s a very clever evolution and gives hours of fun, even to players who are a little older than the age range which the game was aimed at.

Learning to do spells is rather good. These are performed by use the mouse, enabling your cursor to follow instructions given by the teachers. Each spell has a different purpose, such as opening things to reveal treats, acquiring the power of levitation of objects, causing plants to sleep or little creatures to back off. Each of them is relevant to the areas which are traveled through, and there is one special skill which enables the player to open locks.

The game doesn’t assume any kind of skill level, and indeed encourages you to try different things, but one thing I did notice was that it actually makes you sit and work out logical patterns which help you to achieve the end of each level. It is common sense to a degree mixed with ingenuity and magic.

Flying your broomstick requires a lot of practice, and where Quidditch games are held, this can get very infuriating, because the control of broomstick direction causes the player to get pretty ardent in their attempt to catch the sparkling little trophy. Here, I would advise that you exercise caution as too much playing of this level, where you are expected to fly through hoops of fire, can actually make you continue to see the hoops long after the game is finished. Half an hour of this level is perhaps the wisest.

The different scenery is pretty amazing, and the platform elements of the game fairly logical, although often you need trial and error to understand what you are supposed to do. I loved the journey into the cave to get seeds for the dragon. This was fun, and provided a huge challenge, but one which was well worth it.

Overall it is a very good game, well thought out, and has more strong points than weak ones. One of the weakest points was repetition during the flying sequences. The sound had to be turned down because after ten minutes, you do tire of the same cheering and commentary which is repeated over and over again.

There are difficult areas within the game which do take practice and although I almost gave up on a couple of these, like being chased by a monster down a corridor with holes in the floor, I did actually get quite into the rhythm of the game and achieve the required results. Had the game been made too easy, it would certainly not have had the lasting value that it did, so this added to the value of the game as a whole.

Graphics are rather splendid and certainly the commentary which is used throughout the game is helpful and not overpowering, except during the flying lessons. I believe the game would make a great gift for adult and child alike, and as this is available in budget form without detracting from quality, all in all, it really would make a super gift to keep a child or adult occupied and challenged at a very reasonable price.